Thanksgiving. What a wonderful holiday! No media pressure. No presents to buy.
No big deal.
The only big deal today is family and friends. Well, the food, too. After all, it is “Turkey Day!” But as we gather around the table today, we will count our blessings. Many of us will say thank you for those blessings—out loud. We will let others know how grateful we are for their presence in our lives. And in the quiet places of our hearts, many of us will let God know we are thankful for all His gifts—brother sun and sister moon, night-time’s star-studded sky and scudding clouds during the day, the wind in the trees, bird song every morning, the cycle of the seasons. All those things that we so often take for granted in our busy lives. Today, if we’re blessed, the film will be removed from our eyes and we will see a little more clearly—as if we’d just noticed how dirty our glasses were, and we took a moment to clean them off, and placing them back on our eyes, discovered how much lighter and brighter the world truly was.
That brightening happened to me when I awoke this Thanksgiving morn with the gift of a dream. If you read this blog regularly, you know I stand at a fork in the road after 25 years of raising a son with autism. As at most forks in the road, there has been some confusion as to which path to take. Left or right? Right or left? This morning, God sent me a wise woman (disguised as Macrina Weiderkehr, one of my favorite spiritual writers, with the face of Judy Dench, one of my favorite actresses—further proof that God has a sense of humor) with a word about what is to come. She didn’t exactly speak the word to me—she drew the word from me. The word about the future came from my mouth. It was as if she (this wise woman; the Holy Spirit) had planted it inside of me, and in her presence, it made itself known.
Thank you, Holy Spirit! What a gift on this Thanksgiving day. To be one step further to knowing what God has in store for me as I recalibrate my identity as a woman of God. Yes, I’ve been a mother for 33 years, and I am thankful for every one of my sons (and daughter-in-law!) and every one of those years. Yes, I’ve been a caregiver to a son with autism for 25 years. And I am thankful for all he has taught me along the journey; how he led me deeper and deeper into relationship with God, as well as brought me to the realization of my greatest desire—to be a writer. And yes, I am Wally’s wife and Virginia’s and Duane’s daughter, and Dave, Dan and Julie’s sister. I am an aunt to David, Jakson, Samuel, Michael, Stephen, Valarie, Jacob, Noah, Jaime, and Mark. And friend to so many sisters and brothers I cannot even list them all here. You know who you are, and each one of you is more precious than gold to me. I am cousin and niece and neighbor and team member. So many facets of our personalities!
And yet, on this Thanksgiving day, the role I most yearn to grow into is daughter of God. In the words of yet another friend and mentor, Henri Nouwen, “Beloved.”
To wake up, empowered to walk forward in deeper knowledge of just what that means, takes my breath away.
I am thankful. So very thankful.